Centrin is an EF-hand calcium-binding protein found in microtubule organizing centers of organisms ranging from algae and yeast to man. Phosphorylation in the centrin C-terminal domain occurs in mitosis and is associated with alterations in contractile fibers. To obtain insight into the structural basis for the functional effect of phosphorylation, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii centrin C-terminal domain phosphorylated at Ser167 (pCRC-C) has been produced and characterized. The structure of pCRC-C was compared to the unmodified protein by NMR spectroscopy. The effect of phosphorylation on target binding was examined for the complex of pCRC-C and a 19 residue centrin-binding fragment of Kar1. Remarkably, the efficient and selective phosphorylation by PKA was suppressed in the complex. Moreover, comparisons of NMR chemical shift differences induced by phosphorylation reveal a greater effect from phosphorylation in the context of the Kar1 complex than for the free protein. These results directly demonstrate that phosphorylation modulates the structure and biochemical activities of centrin.